༺ Letter to my Vegan Self, from the Future ༻

Before You Go Vegan

When you have an ED and become vegan, thinking it will help you, thinking it will cure your ED, know that what you might end up doing is adding another voice, a second voice.  Your ED Voice will not leave, it will only conceal itself behind your Vegan Voice.  Your Vegan Voice will seem like a more loving voice.  It will tell you that you are such a good person, that you are such a marvelous being, that you have found the answer, that this is the best decision you could ever have made.  It will tell you that now, you really have the right to exist because you are finally doing good, that you are finally doing something important.  That all the food that you will cut out of your diet will save the world; that every morsel of animal food that you will no longer eat will have an impact.  It will tell you that your life now has value. 

But know this:  your Vegan Voice will only be your ED voice in disguise.  The sound of this voice is much more enchanting, and much more pleasant at first but please understand that it doesn’t care about you.  It still wants to control you, it will just do it another way.  It will make YOUR whole life not about YOU.  VV will be so nice to you that you will feel better about yourself and that will only strengthen its hold on you.  You will only exist to push its agenda.  In the same way your ED colours every single area of your life, your Vegan-ED will touch and control every aspect of your life:  you will push more friends away, you will feel more isolated, you will feel like you belong even less in society, it will affect your professional life, your financial health, your life, your love life.  Ev.er.y.thing.  You will only feel connected to people who are just like you and yes, that can feel reassuring but it will keep you stuck there and overtime, you will deteriorate. 

Because your vegan voice will tell you that you now have value, you will protect this voice with all that you have, you will protect your newfound vegan identity with all that you have.  Does this sound familiar to you? It will be problematic that your self-esteem will still NOT come from YOU, it will come from yet another voice.  Don’t you feel you should find your own voice again, not add more voices that are not there to help you?

Overtime, because everything you will experience, everything you will encounter will be filtered though the Vegan voice, you will have more and more trouble looking at things using critical thinking.  When someone will bring up a point of view that you should be looking at and evaluating, you will instead feel threatened because your Vegan identity, with its hold on you, will be under attack.  Instead of being able to honestly look at things from different perspectives and then making your mind up, you will only see that the only way to feel worthy of your life is to see everything through the vegan lens, even when this lens is heavily blurred by misinformation.  You will only surround yourself with other vegans being led with misinformation, dogmatism and mob-mentality, and not by the vegans capable of critical thinking, openness and real compassion.

Your VV will need things to be simple to control you.  It will need you to see everything in black and white.  It will do what it can to shift your focus on doing veganism for you, to doing it only for the animals, until your loved ones might, maybe, hear you say that ‘you are not vegan for your health, but vegan for the animals’ meaning that even if you got sick, even if you realized that veganism was not good for your health, you would continue to harm yourself.  Because VV has told you that what you are doing has been proven healthy, you will not know that there are no valid health arguments for veganism.  You will filter this information out, like you will now filter everything that endangers your new found identity.  You will probably not realize, until maybe damage has been done, that good health should include mental health.  Your obsession with food rules, seeing food as black and white, as Good Food VS Bad Food, will only take more and more space in your brain.  You will add more Fear Foods to your list.  I feel so sad that maybe, while you are reading this, you are thinking that all this is a good thing. I’m sad because it means that you are trying to avoid recovery. 

Your VV will also be reinforced by other vegans that you will probably want to surround yourself with when they will talk about cutting out gluten, avoiding this type of oil, or that type of sugar, only eating organic and in season, boycotting otherwise vegan products that have a trace disclaimers for people with severe or deadly allergies, only buying from vegan companies, cutting food that don’t have the right ratio omega-3s to omega-6s or the right ratio zinc to chrome, or the ratio fat to calories, the right combination vitamins to calcium, the right type of vitamin D, the right dosage of iodine, the right form of B-12. 
Need I go on?  
Your accessibility to food that you can eat with real peace of mind will shrink and shrink again and fear and anxiety will further handicap your life.  It will get out of  control.  And life won’t stop; it will put you through another crisis or trauma and this time, you’ll break.  You will start purging again after years of not making yourself throw up.  And then you will see where you really are.  You will get to be lucky and realize, 16 years late, that you should really be working on that first voice, your ED voice before you try and put the weight of the whole world on your shoulders.  You will have to work on being able to give yourself permission to put your veganism/vegetarianism aside and be an activist for your life.  You will realize that a broken mind can’t perform miracles and even more so when what you were doing had no chance of saving anybody but had really good chances of seriously hurting you.  You will start looking for the proof of all the animals you supposedly saved and not be able to find it, or start looking at all the data that you once believed and see that it has been inflated and misinterpreted and see that the harm you did to yourself has been for mostly symbolic acts of compassion.  You will see all the real compassion you have never had for yourself.

So I hope that you will read this and do what you should really do before adding more dysfunctional exterior voices to your struggles.  Deal with your ED voice and fight it like hell.  Fight it until you know that you are a worthwhile human being, all on your own, without the need for anyone’s or any voice’s approbation. Until you know that you have the right to your existence.  Fight it because its only goal is to make you disappear, to destroy you.  Fight it until you really realize that those Voices have made you look outside of yourself so you forget all about your inherent worth and forget about fighting them.  Fight them until you decide you will never let a voice that is not yours win again.

And then, when you have won, if you still want to and it is possible for you to do so, you can think critically and find things to do for animals that can maybe really help them now, not in a hypothetical rose-glassed future when everybody on Earth is on the same page about one issue and that the biology of the planet is different than what it has always been.
You don’t have to be Vegan to help animals and be sustainable.  It is not Black and White, it is not All or Nothing. 

Don’t go down a path that will have you fight two voices.  Even if you only hear the Vegan Voice, there will still be that old one, hiding in the dark, but still controlling you behind a new face.   I care more about you than you do about me.  So I beg you, don’t do it. 

You deserve to recover your own voice.

YOU ARE WORTH IT.

You have ALWAYS been and will ALWAYS be worth it.

  
|  B. | Oct 2013